Introduction: Laser Cut Front End Loader Toy

Picture of Laser Cut Front End Loader Toy

With a young child enamored with vehicles of all types, I came up with the front end loader design shown when thinking of the perfect gift.  Laser cut from 1/8" baltic birch with a few dowels for axles and pivots and held together with wood glue the result is pretty sturdy.  The assembly measures about 11 inches long, 4 inches wide and 5 inches tall, has rolling wheels, pivoting lift arm, articulated body, and functional 6-bar linkage based bucket tilt mechanism.  Design time in Solidworks was about 25 hours, cut time about 40 minutes, and assembly around 4 hours.  Let me know what you think!

UPDATE:  If you want to the .eps files to cut this yourself, you can get them on Ponoko in a variety of configurations at the link below (for a nominal fee).  I have the original 1/8" baltic birch and modified 1/4" baltic birch plywood plans currently available.  These plans require dowels to finish.

Front End Loader Plans on Ponoko

I have an all-laser-cut option that is a bit more complicated and doesn't quite move as nicely as the dowel version but is all-in-one for those not interested in buying dowels.

All-laser front end loader plans at Wooden Marvels.


520CONNBREN (author)2017-10-23

Hello i have tried to access the website but it is blocked for me can u please send them through in a PDF thanks

520CONNBREN (author)2017-10-09






hojatsaravani (author)2016-12-11

I want all three toys plans
its just one on ponoko

please help
best regards

jwolin (author)2012-03-21

Would you consider uploading the source files to Nice model!

plutoboyvp07 (author)2012-03-20

why post this on instructables if youre not going to show us how to do it? Shouldn't have to PAY for design files. That's not what this site is about.

but on the other had, this is freaking awesome. If this was designed in cad, i would definitly do this. My college has laser cutter uses cad files to process cuts.

jmengel (author)plutoboyvp072012-03-20

Some would say that the photos alone show you how to do it. Giving you the files would do it for you. And yes the whole thing was designed and built in Solidworks. See the added PDF above for an idea of how it was designed.

arthurkanzler (author)2011-11-29

Since we are all are a little neurotic here on instructables, let me say that the trend in the heavy equip industry is moving to single hydraulic pistons for the movement of the bucket/integrated tool. Just throwing that one out there..... I can't wait until the ponoko box shows up and I can put this on my desk!

jmengel (author)arthurkanzler2011-11-30

Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, having looked at a lot of pictures of loaders to make this model, I definitely saw a single piston as being more prevalent for the bucket/tool. However, I just liked the look of two from the bigger loaders and it was easier to do with the limitations of the wood thickness.

If you do order from Ponoko, let me know how it goes. The successful building of this is pretty dependent on thickness of the stock cut and laser kerf. I've got a supplier of uniform baltic birch in 1/8" that I use with good success and I modified the Ponoko files to work as best as I could but it has been a long time since I used their materials and do not have a recent calibration on the current thickness tolerances. Are you looking at the thicker wood? If so, the resultant model will be a lot bigger. Awesome.

arthurkanzler (author)2011-11-29

This is AWESOME! I come from a construction background and have used the real thing most of my life. The big equipment manufactures usually sell scale models of their equipment but they are expensive. You would think that when you spend $500k+ they could give you a die cast scale model of the front end loader you just bought, this is not the case though. This looks like much more fun though to have something you can customize and display. AWESOME JOB!

sebasastudi (author)2011-06-08

hola, necesito los planos puedes dármelos ????

jmengel (author)sebasastudi2011-06-09

The plans are for sale on Ponoko:

Thanks for reading.

cannon9 (author)2010-12-29

wow !!! very excellent !!

Scott_Tx (author)2010-12-23

So, where do we get these lasers at?

jmengel (author)Scott_Tx2010-12-24

I believe they sell them cut to length at Home Depot.

wamparoo (author)jmengel2010-12-29

wait, you got the lasers at Home Depot??

jmengel (author)wamparoo2010-12-29

Right next to the unicorn tears. (author)2010-12-29

Cool, Thank god you didn't call it a bulldozer

thepelton (author)2010-12-27

I like it! I need to copy this, it looks quite saleable, even if my laser stuff tends more towards fantasy and science fiction normally.

jmengel (author)thepelton2010-12-28

I question your need to copy this. I'm sure we can reach an agreement on use of the design files.

thepelton (author)jmengel2010-12-28

I would not be doing it exactly. I don't have Solidworks, I have an Epilog laser engraver that runs off Corel Draw 12. I may even just begin from scratch, and engineer the whole thing. I thought if something were placed here in Instructables that it was fair game to make for oneself, and use as you please. I mean you no harm.

jmengel (author)thepelton2010-12-28

The usual license on Instructables is non-commercial, attribution, share-alike, which is what I have chosen. Meaning that you can't make money off of anything you make off of here, you need to provide attribution on derivative work, and you can't change the licensing. So, yes you can make this for yourself, remix and redesign it, but any kind of commercial use is not allowed on most Instructables. There are more restrictive license options, but I have not chosen them for this Instructable since there is no sharing of the design files. The fact that most authors on here do not have the legal resources to pursue a manufacturer who chooses to produce an idea detailed on for commercial use is not to say that everything here is "fair game".

polymythic (author)2010-12-24

That is awesome. My mind is now in overdrive on what else could be done. Its great to see that toys could be made like this rather than mass produced plastic future landfill material. Micro-fab like laster cutting or CNC can bring a whole new era of toys to kids. First was play with toys. Then legos that you could build toys to play with. Now micro fab that you can design, build, and play. Cool suff.

PDRWLSN (author)2010-12-23

This is really cool, good job with the design. Is there any way you would post the drawing files? My youngest boy is also into trucks and tractors.

jmengel (author)PDRWLSN2010-12-24

I'm working on getting the files into Ponoko for distribution at a nominal price. Not my usual MO but I want to try it out.

PDRWLSN (author)jmengel2010-12-24

Have you checked out ""? They'll market it for you as well as make an animated movie of it's assembly that they post and also let you use the movie for your own marketing.

siedpe13 (author)PDRWLSN2010-12-23

i agree, my school has a laser cutter and it would be awesome to get the files to make one

Michaelgoode (author)2010-12-24

WOW! Great job, I love the design, absolutely amazing! 5* as it is indeed remarkable and 'best ever'!

dezertdude (author)2010-12-23

Awesome job!! That is the coolest thing I've seen on here in a while

willdeh2 (author)dezertdude2010-12-24

I couldn't agree more. This thing is great! Well done.

virtato (author)2010-12-24

wow, amazing work, well done

lilalinux (author)2010-12-24

Can we see the cad files? :-)

Greasetattoo (author)2010-12-24

What software did you design it in?

jmengel (author)Greasetattoo2010-12-24


About This Instructable




More by jmengel:Laser Cut Front End Loader ToyLaser Cut UkuleleElectric Brewery Control Panel on the Cheap
Add instructable to: